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Translations by Boris

To Uncle Sergei  

Russian version

 

Dear Uncle Sergei!

Your death has made its shot.

It’s now time to say it –

I’m missing you a lot!

 

I miss your jokes, your thoughts,

Gigantic love for world,

And little books of yours,

And letters with your word.

 

You sent us hand-made cards,

The drawings were so kind –

Your hands were very smart

And decent was your mind.

 

You made your letters play,

They were so full of sound

And warmed my every day

Enlightening all around.

 

In letters we were close…

Now busy time you’ve got,

But I want you to know –

I’m missing you a lot!

 

Dear Uncle Sergei!

You’re gone... I wrote some letters…

But they got lost, and maybe

From wind of stars you’ll get them.

 

If so, how should I

Expect from you the answer?

You send me beam of light

Or heavenly cadenza?

 

And how does it feel

To be a radiant star?

Does poetry still send you?

If yes, then how far?

 

Please do respond, so that the fun

We both can have again…

 

P.S. And if we have the second son

Sergei will be his name.

Translated from Russian: 5 November 1999


Cadenza: An extended solo passage, usually near the end of a piece, improvised by the performer, or sometimes written out by the composer.  

 

The Scent Of A Newborn
Russian version

The scent of a newborn is a wonderful thing,
As is, by the way, the very fact of birth:
Out of nothingness comes into being
A tiny trembling bundle of life on Earth.
 
For only few weeks we can smell that scent.
It disappears a way too fast
As the new baby gains her first weight,
And her first strength, all of which she does
 
In a matter of hours, it seems, not days.
Where does the scent come from? We ask,
Not from the breast milk, or from swaddling ways.
The baby came with the smell to us.
 
The smell of the womb, I guess, it could be,
Science will answer all this and more.
For now, though, I like to think
That this is no less than the scent of awe.
 
When a new being is ready for life,
She gets the permission to be freshly born,
And comes to the womb, and grows there for awhile,
But the scent of the heaven comes along.
 
It goes away only after she sees
The earthly daylight, and after she breaths
Outside of the womb the same air that fills
All of our lungs and our deeds.
 
And therefore, when you want to hold
Your baby in suddenly awkward hands,
Rush to enjoy that scent of awe,
Sweet heavenly smell that too quickly ends.
 
Translated from Russian: 13 April 2002

Of Stardust

Russian version
 
We used to be the shining stars,
And whether we like it or not,
We are still made of the same stardust,
Of the same celestial lot.
 
In the crazy desert of the universe
We are like the non-drying drop,
And although nothing can we reverse,
So milky is the way of hope!
 
The strictness of our fortune lines
Has no beginning or end,
And we are drawn to the upper skies,
Where twinkling pollen is spread.
 
Sometimes we can hear a melody played
When a star distantly sings.
Its tune is inconceivably plain,
With no timing or attached strings.
 
And they have long forgiven us
For untroubled and luxury times.
We are made of the eternal stardust,
Of forgiveness and heavenly rhymes.
 
Translated from Russian: April 22, 2002 

Dust To Dust

House to house.
Place to place.
Mouth to mouth.
Face to face.
 
Nipple to nipple.
Skin to skin.
Ripple to ripple.
Sin to sin.
 
Pleasure for pleasure.
Gain for gain.
Measure for measure.
Pain for pain.
 
Treason for treason.
Treat for treat.
Reason for reason.
Deed for deed.
 
Fire for fire.
Blast for blast.
Dire to dire.
Dust to dust.
 
Little by little.
Cry by cry.
That’s how people
Live and die.
 
April 26, 2002

Coming Back

Russian version 
 
The sense is all in coming back.
It’s in the dust of matters hidden
That we should try to find the track
Which leads to the forgotten Eden.
 
We are moving on from light to light
Through darkness of the pains and wars.
We knock on planet with the might,
As if it were the closed doors.
 
And harshly gasping in despair
In the polluted sinful sites
We thus accept the earthly share
Of our sufferings and plights.
 
We lost essential connection
With wisdom of the universe.
Departing far from the perfection,
Ambitions make it only worse.
 
We are living in a worthless hurry.
And yet, our purposes are high.
We lost the heaven – not to worry,
The punishment is passing by.
 
The highest plan is holding steady
And nowadays, as much as then,
The sight of miracles is ready
And open only for the man.
 
The fields of God no one can enter,
No one can even think to pass
Through place of the divinely splendor
That’s waiting there just for us.
 
It waits. But not an easy walking
Is what will bring us to the goal.
From fake reality and mocking
We should pull out our soul.
 
We shouldn’t be scared of being alone,
Of striving for enlightening wave.
The sense is all in coming home.
This is the only way we have.
 
Translated from Russian: May 3, 2002

Between Heaven And Hell

Russian version
 
 
Between Heaven and Hell
The boarder barely stands
Tears are pouring like rain
Over the earthly acts.
 
Evil wants to delight
Us with a beautiful scene.
But the wonder of life
Only goodness can bring.
 
It is hard to comprehend
This simple and pure thought.
To grasp it we need to tread
A steep and slippery slope.
 
It’s tempting sometimes to get lost
In the hazy sweetness of lust:
A moment of weakness can cost
The ages of love and trust.
 
The errors we make entail
No more than a joy of sin.
Between Heaven and Hell
The boarder is hardly seen.
 
Translated from Russian: May 3, 2002

Mourning Game

When someone dies, we cry,
We mourn and sob and weep
For those who become relieved
Forever from this trial.
That’s why we think we cry.
 
What we truly are crying about
Are not those who pass away,
But us, who are here to stay,
Ourselves, the lively crowd.
That’s what we cry about.
 
We’d rather join their ranks,
But rushing is not allowed,
And is punished without a doubt.
We are still stuck on these banks,
Really wishing to join their ranks.
 
This game is so well played
Each time when we cry and mourn
Someone who is gone.
It’s self-pity of the highest grade.
The mind’s game that’s so well played.
 
May 30, 2002

Sense of Awe

Russian version

There is a sense of awe
In all the births and deaths,
In sweetness of the brooks,
In harshness of the deserts.
 
Sleep isn’t coming on…
The world of inner depths
Is richer than it looks,
Beyond all human measures.
 
There is a sense of awe
In discords and consents,
In loftiness of dreams,
In vanity of errands.
 
Together we live on
So that misfortune bends
In effort to perceive
Importance of its errors.
 
There is a sense of awe
In laughter and in tears,
In mystery of love,
In recklessness of shadows.
 
We are lucky all the more:
No losses and no fears
Can change the path of life
Divert it from the heavens.

August 19, 2002

Good Time Prayer

Thank You, God,
For the lightness of being,
For the freshness of thought,
For the wonder of seeing,
For the softness of touch,
For the warmth of feeling,
And for carrying so much
To the point of healing.
 
But above all
Thank You for hiding,
‘Cause without hiding
We would not be seeking,
And without seeking
We would not be finding,
We would not be loving,
We would not be living.

September 4, 2002

On Visiting The Frost Place

Robert Frost Place brings a peace of mind
Resembling his lines of ease and grace,
And prompts the thoughts of a special kind,
The simple thoughts that come and amaze.
 
The love of the enemy is way too much
To ask at this point of the human race.
We are not there. But the places such
As this one could become the base.
 
The life would be just a piece of cake
If all: rich and poor, slow and smart
Could give each other a little break –
The break, it seems, is where we should start.
 
Giving a break comes from piece of mind
In the places which open the inner eye
With the special simplicity so hard to find,
That goes so deep, and flies so high.

September 7, 2003

A Car Is Standing In The Rain

A car is standing in the rain…
I want to think it feels the pain
Of raindrops drumming on its roof,
For this, I’ll never find the proof.
 
I am, too, standing in the rain,
My joys are going through the drain
Of unforgiving, restless thoughts.
No proof is needed that it hurts.
 
But if the raindrops hurt the car,
Much like the thoughts that drain the life,
We both should proud be so far
Of decent and enduring strife.

September 24, 2003

The Cause Behind

There are some people we dislike
And even those who we despise,
To meet them is a dreadful plight
And disenchanting compromise.
 
There was that boy in my high school,
Unpleasant creature, as it seemed,
He wasn’t bright, or brave, or cool,
Or charming character indeed.
 
So kids were making fun of him,
And teachers, slow to protect,
Were ready to accept each sin
Of his demeanor as a fact.
 
But then how shameful did we feel
When cause behind became unveiled:
His mom was terminally ill –
The cancer crept into her bed.
 
The boy was giving her the help,
He never knew or seen his dad,
The fear and hopelessness he felt,
Despair was his only friend.
 
So when we find compelling case
To let dislike into the mind,
Let’s not forget that each disgrace
Most likely has its cause behind.
 
September 24, 2003

Can Poetry Save Lives?

As I was driving home
From my first ever meeting
Of The Society of Longfellow,
My mood romantic and mellow,
I felt like poetry reading.
 
I sometimes do that while driving –
So far much better than news,
The chatter that I refuse.
I mumble the lines to myself,
Either mine, or someone else’s,
It calms me down and helps
To escape the life’s mundane,
To survive the length of the drive.
That’s what I was doing then,
On that November night.
 
When I stopped at the traffic light
Before getting on my street,
I tried to remember right
A couple of lines of my own,
That I couldn’t read.
Now the light was green,
I should have already moved on,
As I would normally do,
Through the deserted crossroads.
 
But I posed for a second or two
To recall the escaping words.
 
I was unusually slow.
Normally I push the pedal
Not waiting, and off I go,
As if I can get the medal
For something like coming home.
 
Suddenly a car swished
From my left driver’s side,
Where I should have been
Just two moments ago,
Had I not been so deep
In the forgotten poem.
 
Someone went on a very red light
At a pretty breathtaking speed
For a nightly suburban ride.
 
The car passed by, I got the lines right,
And moved on to finish my journey,
To think about what happened.
 
It may look unsafe for an attorney,
Or for an insurance agent –
To recite poems and to drive,
But on that November night,
It probably saved my life.
 
November 19, 2004

In The Traffic Jam

It was bumper to bumper,
And I loved every moment of it.
It was so slow motion,
So gracefully fit.
 
It was time to enjoy the surroundings,
To enjoy the bumper sticker
Of the car in front of me,
And little pieces of litter.
 
I watched the litter with awe.
It was moving with the pace of the Earth,
These chunks of junk were sacred
Particles of the universe.
 
They were spinning with all of us
As Earth turns around itself,
And also around the sun,
And around the galaxy center.
 
That was a lot of spinning,
Although very slow,
From the point of view of observer
In the endless car flow.
 
The universe was expanding
In one gigantic exhale,
As I was standing
In the midst of the traffic jail.
 
It was the gift of grandeur
To be stuck there for awhile,
And I couldn’t help but to wonder,
I couldn’t resist a smile.
 
December 15, 2004

The Best Thing

I’m watching you stand,
I’m watching you walk,
I’m listening to what you say.
I’m watching you do something mundane,
Like putting the books on the shelve.
And I think to myself,
It sounds so simple, but here is what I think:
I like what I hear and I like what I see,
You are the best thing, you are the best thing,
That ever happened to me.

I’m watching you dance,
I’m watching you smile,
I’m watching you cry sometimes.
And everything else, that catches my eye
About you is so nice.
I know it sounds simple,
But here is what I think:
I like what I hear and I like what I see,
You are the best thing, you are the best thing,
That ever happened to me.

September 18, 2010

Waiting For You

You are leaving now.
But I’m not sad.
In fact I’m totally fine,
Because as I’ve said
You are always mine
No matter where you live,
No matter where you are
Or even who you are with
I’ll wait for you forever,
Because as I said before –
You are worth, you are worth
Waiting for.

You are leaving now.
I wish you all the best.
I’m sure that somehow
I’ll figure out the rest.
In fact I might have a plan.
I know what to do.
Between now and then
I’ll be waiting for you.
And I can wait forever,
Because as I said before –
You are worth, you are worth
Waiting for.

You are leaving now.
But life goes on.
Don’t you feel so down.
Sometimes we have to move on..
But I want you to remember
In case you need a clue:
I have no other agenda
Except for waiting for you.
And I can wait forever,
Forever is a long time.
And even if we’re not together
You are always mine.
I’ll wait for you forever,
Because as I said before –
You are worth, you are worth Waiting for.

September 22, 2010